07:00 Wednesday 31 October 2012

Stressed out busy bees?

Written byHeart Research UK

Are you charging around like a busy bee and feeling stressed as you juggle the demands of work, home-life and other commitments? Just as the world bee population is suffering from a number of stressors, so are many employees.

As we spend most of our waking hours at work, which can be a source of stress and worry, we want to highlight this year’s National Stress Awareness Day on 7th November which is focusing on ‘Well-being at work’.

A recent study published in The Lancet has added evidence that links stress, workload and heart disease. Workers who experience ‘job strain’ (a demanding job with little control over how to do it) are 23% more likely to have a heart attack than those who don’t. Chronic stress may directly affect the body at a biological level, but it is often associated with a poor diet, lack of exercise and increased smoking, which all affect your heart.

Top bees

As an employer, taking care of the heart of your workforce by offering a supportive environment that encourages heart-healthy lifestyles is essential for nurturing a productive workforce.

  • Offer workshops or lifestyle checks to your employees and give them plenty of opportunities to discuss areas of concern and workloads.

  • Show your appreciation for what employees do and ensure they work their proper hours, with protected breaks.

  • Check the cafeteria and snack bars provide a range of heart-healthy snacks and drinks.

  • Organise some team building and stress relieving Tai-chi, exercise classes or reduced gym memberships.

 Worker bees

  • We tend to snack or rely on less healthy convenience foods more and drink more alcohol when stressed. Eat a balanced, varied and colourful diet that gives you all the essential nutrients your body needs to help combat the negative effect of stress.

  • Keep active by doing something you enjoy, exercise is a great stress reliever and is key for good heart health.

  • Protect your lunchtime and leave the office for a revitalising walk.

  • Share your concerns with your colleagues, boss, friends or family and keep your ‘to do’ list realistic.

  • Take some deep breaths; clench your fists and release, count to 10 slowly to release stress short-term.

  • Programme some daily ‘YOU’ time for a new hobby, a long bubble bath or watching your favourite comedy.

Bees are at risk of Colony Collapse Disorder, so ensure your busy bees are well cared for to avoid Workplace Collapse Disorder. If you’re one of the busy bees under strain, make sure your lifestyle supports you through these difficult times for a healthier, happier, longer life.

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK via email, lifestyle@heartresearch.org.uk.

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